Posted: 12/03/2013 at 11:23
It is a sad story, but the person at fault here is the solicitor, not the lady or the council. She will easily have a case if the paperwork from the solicitor doesn't mention anything about development. I think the whole point of going to the papers is they have actually examined the documents (which will be standard letters pre drawn up) and found they were told it shouldn't be developed. Whether they didn't realise that a garden counts as non-agriculural development is by the by, ignorance is no form of defence. You can't drive at 60 in a 30 zone then claim to the police you didn't know it was a 30, you'll still be nicked!
Yes it seems stupid, but rules are there for a reason, this sets a precedent, so everyone else can have similar chunks added to their gardens, before you know it, acres of greenbelt has gone! It seems harsh on this lady but not everyone will make a nice garden, some will just leave it go overgrown etc. They need to be enforcing this everywhere, because loads of Greenbelt land is disappearing fast.
I also find it odd that considering they have had ponds all their lives, why have fish if you want frogs and newts? I don't believe the newts will be great crested, otherwise that'd be all over the paper too. Anyways, a harsh lesson, but goes to show do your preperation work thoroughly, can get very expensive!